Sun sets on Baker's career at TRM
Published 5:44 am Wednesday, June 1, 2005
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Like many, Alan Baker changed his mind about what profession to pursue while he was in college.
Good thing for T.R. Miller High School he did.
Baker completed his 27th and final year of coaching last month, the last 21 of those years of which he spent at T.R. Miller where he spent time with the Tigers track, football, baseball and basketball programs.
Baker's ties to T.R. Miller go beyond coaching, as he graduated high school there in 1974.
Baker left the area after he graduated high school where he attended and then graduated from Auburn University. It was at Auburn where Baker's original job profession goal was law.
Baker's first job after college graduation came in 1978 at Central-Phenix City High School as a history teacher. He also served as the head coach of that school's football, basketball and track programs at the junior varsity level.
Baker spent two years at Central-Phenix City before he moved on to Earnest Ward High School.
Baker went to Earnest Ward in 1980 as an assistant football coach, but got bumped up to head coach halfway through the 1981 season when that program's head coach left. Baker held on to the head coaching football position for two more years. Those two and one-half seasons would be Baker's only years as a head football coach in more than a quarter of a century on the gridiron sidelines.
Baker took advantage of a chance to come home to Brewton and T.R. Miller in the fall of 1984 where he joined head coach Mike Sasser's staff as an assistant coach. Baker also served as assistant baseball coach under current T.R. Miller principal Donnie Rotch and assistant basketball coach.
That first T.R. Miller football team that Baker helped coach in 1984 was one of five that won state championships.
Baker worked under the direction of Sasser in 1984-85, Joel Williams in 1986-88 and current coach Jamie Riggs since 1989.
See BAKER Page 8A
again and it happened in 1989," Baker said.
Baker's role with T.R. Miller football during the Riggs' era has been as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.
Defensive schemes varied from opponent to opponent, but Baker found some offenses tougher to defend than others.
Baker said he has never regretted about not becoming a head coach again after his brief experience at Earnest Ward.
Baker spent his last 21 years at T.R. Miller as the Tigers and Lady Tigers track coach. During that time his teams won 12 sectional championships (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004), finished indoor state runner-up once (1991), finished outdoor state runner-up three times (1993, 1994, 1996), won one indoor state championship (1992) and won four outdoor state championships (1991, 1992, 2003, 2004).
Baker said most of a track athlete's success comes through development.
Baker said the average person does not understand how much knowledge it takes to coach track.
Baker said coaching those respective events is difficult, especially at a home meet.
Baker said T.R. Miller track got a boost when the all-weather track was installed in the early 1990s.
Baker said he could not have done what he has without the support of wife, Kaki.
Baker may now be retired from both coaching and teaching at T.R. Miller, but he hardly plans to be idle.